Out of Klout

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The kerfuffle about Klout, the self-styled ‘standard for influence’ service, that blew up last month has largely settled down now as most online kerfuffles tend to.

Yet the storm that erupted following Klout’s change in how they measure an individual’s rank focused a great deal of attention on what Klout’s business model really is – just a marketing scheme for its perks programme? as I wondered – and on some of its practices in how it captures data and how it markets its perks to users.

A key aspect of the sense of unease such revelations provoked in me was knowing that you had no means of removing yourself from Klout if you had an account. That’s now changed as Klout enabled a way to opt out of its service. Cancel your account, in other words. (You find the link to start that in your Klout settings.)

Since then, I’ve noticed a number of people whose opinions I respect saying that they’ve left Klout. Lynette Young, for instance, who says it bluntly:

I no longer feel dirty and hypocritical

I’ve just done the same – opted out of Klout. Cancelled my account. Revoked access for Klout to interact with all the other online places I’d given it permission for.

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My comment on Klout’s opt-out form as to why I was cancelling out was a simple one:

Thanks, but I no longer believe your service offers me any value.

With that, I hit the ‘Submit’ button.

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The tipping point for me to do this was a highly-critical post by Rohn Jay Miller a few days ago uncompromisingly entitled Delete Your Klout Profile Now!. This blunt comment in his post caught my attention:

[...] The fundamental evil of Klout is that it’s a venture capital-backed company looking to leverage into a big IPO payday  and the only value proposition they offer is their ability to identify, train and exploit people they can sell to advertisers as “key influencers,” in a taxonomy of business interests.

What do these “key influencers” get for their efforts?  Pennies.  Swag. Chocolate bars. Little discounts.  These people are the entire sum of the Klout value proposition.  Klout exists for the benefit of advertisers, not for the people Klout measures and then chooses to engage.

Heavy stuff indeed. But it added greatly to my sense of unease about Klout. How could I trust them? Whywould I trust them?

Well, I don’t, simple as that.

So I’m out of Klout. And moving on.

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